Magazine

ISSUE 079

May - June 2006

South Georgia

Kowhai

Foxton

Wind farms

Cairn

Batten

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Geography

South Georgia

It was bucketing down with snow. It hadn’t stopped since we’d set out. Graham and I scraped a flat spot in the gravel with a snow shovel and an old ship’s timber washed up on the beach. Marcus unpacked the tent. By the time we had it pitched my hands had lost their circulation and our kayaks were fast losing their form to the enveloping snow. “Welcome to the School of South Georgia, boys.” It was camp 1 of our attempt to kayak round an island we’d dreamed of circumnavigating for a year and a half. The dream had been much warmer than the reality.

History

Jean Batten

In her heyday she was a star of the greatest magnitude, more celebrated than the latter-day astronauts who walked on the Moon. For her pioneering transcontinental solo flights, she was fêted, desired and worshipped. She was the Daughter of the Skies, the Darling of the Skyways. Then, as suddenly as she had appeared, she vanished, her meteoric rise to fame leaving almost no after-image. Today, in the pantheon of New Zealand’s national heroes, Jean Batten re­mains a brilliant, mysterious and tragic figure.

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